The Lancaster International Fiction Lecture: Geetanjali Shree

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We are delighted to announce that the second Lancaster International Fiction Lecture, a joint venture between Litfest and the Department of Languages & Cultures and the Department of English Literature & Creative Writing at Lancaster University, will be given by Geetanjali Shree whose novel written in Hindi and translated into English by Daisy Rockwell won this year’s International Booker Prize.

Fiction is an artform shared by almost all languages. Right now, the English-speaking world – thanks to translators and innovative publishers – has become more aware of the extraordinary fiction that has been and is being written everywhere and in all languages. So it seemed to us that a lecture to discuss and celebrate fiction as an international artform could not be more timely.

Borders have loomed large in Geetanjali’s life, and so it’s not surprising that her prize-winning novel, Tomb of Sand, should be an urgent and timely protest against the destructive impact of borders and boundaries, whether between religions, countries, or genders. It is also extremely funny and utterly original.

Geetanjali Shree is the author of five novels and several story collections. Her work has been translated into English, French, German, Serbian and Korean. She was born in Mainpuri, India, in 1957. Tomb of Sand is the first of her books to be published in the UK. She has received and been shortlisted for a number of awards and fellowships, and currently lives in New Delhi.

Supported by the Departments of English Literature & Creative Writing and Languages & Cultures at Lancaster University.

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Litfest International Fiction Book Club: Geetanjali Shree – Tomb of Sand

Winner of the 2022 International Booker Prize!

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The Litfest International (Zoom) Fiction Book Club was launched in response to Covid in April 2020. Since then, the club has discussed 28 books, with the writer, translator or editor. Our guests have included authors Delphine de Vigan, Andrey Kurkov and Juan Gabriel Vásquez, and translators Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Olga Tokarczuk), Sasha Dugdale (Maria Stepanova) and Frank Wynne (Alice Zeniter).

For this special edition of the book club we are delighted to welcome the acclaimed Indian writer Geetanjali Shree to discuss Tomb of Sand (Tilted Axis Press) and her story ’These Days’ in All Walls Collapse: Stories of Separation (Comma Press).

‘We were captivated by the power, the poignancy and the playfulness of Tomb of Sand, Geetanjali Shree’s polyphonic novel of identity and belonging…This is a luminous novel of India and partition, but one whose spellbinding brio and fierce compassion weaves youth and age, male and female, family and nation into a kaleidoscopic whole’ –Frank Wynne, translator, writer and 2022 International Booker Chair

Geetanjali Shree is the author of five novels and several story collections, Her work has been translated into English, French, German, Serbian and Korean. She was born in Mainpuri, India, in 1957. Tomb of Sand is the first of her books to be published in the UK. She has received and been shortlisted for a number of awards and fellowships, and currently lives in New Delhi.

“The Litfest International Fiction Book Club has reignited my love for reading. It has opened my eyes to different cultures and a whole new world of fiction”-Lisa Keys, Lancaster

The Litfest International Fiction Book Club is convened by Bill Swainson (Litfest) and Sam O’Donoghue (Lancaster University), and supported by the Fondation Jan Michalski

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Tim Dee & Jon Carter: Greenery

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One December in midsummer South Africa, Tim Dee was watching swallows. They were at home there, but the same birds would soon begin journeying north to Europe, where their arrival marks the beginning of spring.

Greenery recounts how Tim Dee tries to follow the season and its migratory birds, making remarkable journeys in the Sahara, the Straits of Gibraltar, Sicily, Britain and finally by the shores of the Arctic Ocean. On each adventure he is in step with the very best times of the year. With Jon Carter of RSPB Leighton Moss, Tim will explore the continual loop of migration.

‘A masterpiece… This book has changed the way I think about seasons and migration, humans and birds, time and life. Dee is a virtuoso handler of sound, knowledge and language’Max Porter

Tim Dee was born in Liverpool and has been a birdwatcher all his life, and is the author of The Running Sky, Four Fields, Landfill and, most recently, Greenery. Before becoming a full-time writer he was a BBC radio producer for nearly 30 years. He follows the birds he loves, living at different times of year in England and the south-western tip of Africa, at the Cape of Good Hope.

Jon Carter first visited Leighton Moss as an 11-year-old and fell in love with the reserve’s vast wetland landscape. He is currently Visitor Experience Manager at RSPB Leighton Moss.

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Sarah Thomas, with Lancaster Sewing Café: The Raven’s Nest

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Artfully weaving nature writing, memoir and travel, this is the story of learning to belong in the elemental landscape of Iceland’s bewitching West fjords.

In partnership with Lancaster Sewing Café, we offer a contemplative event in the style of an Icelandic ‘mending’ session, at which we will hear about Lancaster Sewing Café’s work and then Sarah will talk about and read from her wonderful book, The Raven’s Nest. You are invited to bring any mending projects you may have on the go to do during Sarah’s reading, if you wish; some materials will be provided.

Visiting Iceland as an anthropologist and film-maker in 2008, Sarah Thomas was spellbound by its otherworldly landscape. An immediate love for this country and for Bjarni, a man she met there, turned a week-long stay into a transformative half-decade, one which radically altered Sarah’s understanding of herself and of the living world.

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‘Sarah Thomas’s lyrical, thoughtful prose takes us on a journey, both physical and emotional, to the far north’ –Cal Flynn, author of Islands of Abandonment

‘A deeply thoughtful, vivid, enquiring and genre-traversing book… Sarah’s writing draws readers north-wards and inwards upon a fascinating journey’ –Robert Macfarlane

Sarah Thomas is a writer and filmmaker with a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies. Her films have been screened internationally. She is a contributor to the Dark Mountain journal. Her writing has also appeared in the Guardian and the anthology Women on Nature (ed. Katherine Norbury). Longlisted for the inaugural Nan Shepherd Award and shortlisted for the 2021 Fitzcarraldo Essay Prize.

Sewing Café Lancaster Is a grassroots project that advocates for an ethical textile industry and regenerative textile practices. Get in touch at sewingcafelancaster@gmail.com

Kim Moore: What the Trumpet Taught Me

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Award-winning poet Kim Moore studied music and was a trumpet teacher for several years. What the Trumpet Taught Me is a collection of vivid snapshots, from first lessons to attending music college, from teaching trumpet in schools and conducting a brass band, right through to playing in working men’s clubs in a ten-piece soul band.

Meditative, funny and moving, these short prose pieces are open to experience and clear-eyed about the vagaries of class prejudice and the intricacies of gender in a predominantly male world. Woven into her performance will be poems from her latest collection, All the Men I Never Married.

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‘The world is a better place for writing like Kim’s. And here, in her new book, we see the world through the prism of the trumpet. An Absolute delight’Cerys Matthews

Kim Moore lives and works in Cumbria. Her first full-length collection The Art of Falling (Seren, 2015) won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. She also won a New Writing North Award, an Eric Gregory Award and the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize. She has a doctorate from Manchester Metropolitan University and, with Clare Shaw, is co-director of the Kendal Poetry Festival. All the Men I Never Married is her latest poetry collection (Seren) and What the Trumpet Taught Me (Smith|Doorstop 2022) is her latest book.

Litfest Autumn Weekend Launch: National Poetry Day with Clare Shaw

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To celebrate National Poetry Day 2022, for which this year’s theme is ‘Environment’, we invited everyone to submit a poem to the Litfest ‘Environment’ Poetry Mosaic. Submissions to the mosaic are now closed.

In the days leading up to National Poetry Day, Clare Shaw will curate a selection of 12 outstanding poems from those submitted to the Litfest ‘Environment’ Poetry Mosaic. Then on 4 October Litfest will contact those poets to invite them to read their work in person or online at this special event!

MC’d by poet Clare Shaw, the event itself will feature Clare’s own poetry, poems from the past, and the 12 selected poets’ work. After the event, all submitted and accepted poems will remain online in the ‘Poetry Mosaic’.

‘Clare Shaw writes rawly and brilliantly’Jackie Kay

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Clare Shaw is a poet and performer. They have published four poetry collections with Bloodaxe, most recently Towards a General Theory of Love. Clare is co-director of the Kendal Poetry Festival, a poetry tutor, and a mental health educator. Their work is grounded in place, and underpinned by a deep faith in language – the belief that words have the power both to harm and to heal at an individual and societal level.